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7 Tips for Presenting Your Best Your Honor Awards Entry

Posted by LMA International on Oct 14, 2015 10:29:49 AM

Planning to submit your marketing department’s best work to the 2016 LMA Your Honor Awards? We talked to past YHA winners who offered their advice for preparing an entry that will stand out. They also share how this unique recognition impacted their department and their work within their firm — for the better.

Jeffrey J. Berardi
Chief Marketing Officer, K&L Gates LLP
2014 Your Honor Awards: First Place - Identity – Projects Totaling More Than $20,000

How has receiving Your Honor Awards recognition benefited your department within your firm?
Our winning submission highlighted the launch of the K&L Gates brand in Australia. YHA was a wonderful recognition for the firm-wide marketing department. We function as a global team, and we had people from numerous offices that played important roles in the successful merger with the legacy Australian firm Middletons. In addition, we felt that it was great for firm management to see the fruits of our labor!

What is some advice you have for those interested in participating in YHA?
The YHA process can serve as an excellent team-building activity. Sometimes, it is important to take a step back to assess what our department has accomplished on behalf of the firm during a specific time period, and the submission process allows for firms to do so. I’m proud of my team and what they have achieved, and I would have felt equally proud had they not been selected for the award. Our department appreciated the opportunity to tell our story, both on an internal and external basis.

Laura Freedman Pedrick
Marketing Director, Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP
2014 Your Honor Awards: Third Place - Community Relations

How has receiving Your Honor Awards recognition benefited your department within your firm?
It is a validation of the quality of work produced by our marketing department. The YHA process provides an opportunity to reflect on initiatives we have created and executed, allowing us to identify and quantify some of our accomplishments. Then, sharing the LMA recognition with our management, partners and other members of the firm demonstrates publicly a meaningful third-party endorsement for our efforts. Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP is a firm of 55 attorneys. There have been a couple of occasions that we’ve been recognized at the national level, up against firms with national and sometimes international name recognition. That’s a great boost for our marketing team and duly noted by PS&H management!

Advice for those considering submitting an entry?
The YHA application form is a good guide for any initiative you create. It asks for input on key aspects of a campaign, and it requires you to provide substantive commentary succinctly. If you have solid responses for each question, you know you’ve got something worthy of consideration. Go for it! It’s fun, and even if you don’t win an award, the process results in a usable summary of your initiative. You’ll have clarity of the individual project, the value it added and the results you achieved. Your report is ready to give to management.

Allison Berey
Chief Marketing Officer, Polsinelli
2014 Your Honor Awards: Honorable Mention - Advertising – Campaign

How has receiving Your Honor Awards recognition benefited your department within your firm?
We developed a fairly striking and different approach to our advertising, both in a strategic sense and in creative execution. Receiving the Your Honor Award has helped to provide the credibility needed to reinforce a shift we have made toward consistent messaging aligned to the Polsinelli value proposition. It has also helped to loosen the reigns to allow marketing to handle creative development and copywriting. With a clear brand strategy in place, advertising objectives and an image strategy, we now have the structure under which we can operate both more strategically and more efficiently.

Why should LMA members participate in YHA?
YHA can provide both credibility with your internal clients and a sense of reward and gratification for team members who have devoted late nights and a great deal of passion to driving change in the firm.

Jill Weber
Chief Marketing & Business Development Officer, Stinson Leonard Street
2014 Your Honor Awards: Second Place - Community Relations

How has receiving Your Honor Awards recognition benefited your department within your firm?
The Your Honor Awards provides a third-party endorsement for our marketing efforts. It validates our strategy, raises our visibility and enhances the attorneys’ view of our team.

What’s one piece of advice for submitting an entry to YHA?
Tell a compelling story.

Mary Siceloff
Director of Business Development, HunterMaclean
2014 Your Honor Awards: Third Place - Events

How has receiving Your Honor Award recognition benefited your department within your firm?
It was valuable to be able to say that an event that we developed and had success with was recognized on a national scale by an organization that sees the best in legal marketing from across the country.

What is some advice you have for those interested in participating in YHA?
Every aspect of the event or work product that you submit is important. It’s easy to discount some aspects of an event or project as normal, everyday workload that don’t require (or perhaps deserve) mention or call out. The process of the submitting for YHA reminded me of each step in the process. It was also valuable for me to review the event when not under pressure to produce it and to carefully map out which parts of the promotion of that event were productive, valuable and returned results. Recognition by LMA was icing on the cake.

Laura G. Murray, Esq.
Chief Marketing Officer, Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP
2014 Your Honor Awards: First Place - Events

How has receiving Your Honor Award recognition benefited your department within your firm?
YHA reinforced our message to our lawyers about the value of marketing and business development, and in particular, creating firm-branded events that have an educational component and showcase our leadership in this space. For example, The New Miami Breakfast Series features a panel of leading members of the local business community and focuses on key topics relevant to doing business in South Florida's most active industries, including hospitality and public-private partnerships. This allows us to position ourselves as having strong ties to the most influential members of the community, and gives us an opportunity to demonstrate our knowledge in pressing areas of interest.

The Awards also bolsters our credibility, being recognized by the foremost authority on legal marketing. These kinds of results are something we later use to encourage attorney participation in various marketing initiatives.

What is some advice you have for those interested in participating in YHA?
Keep YHA top-of-mind year-round, so that whenever you are working on an initiative that you think might be something to consider, you can collect all the appropriate info and data points as you go. This saves time in the long run since you won't have to go back and remember all the factors that went into it. It's also important to track ROI and find a way to share it for the awards without disclosing competitive intelligence or confidential information.

From a director's standpoint, the most important thing to remember is if and when your department wins the award, everyone that participates should be acknowledged within the firm. We all know that responsibilities and projects require teamwork, and it is important to recognize this sort of achievement as one that would have been impossible without a team effort. It's also important to promote the award internally to acknowledge the marketing department's accomplishments and bolster credibility.

Jeff Dennis
Director of Strategies Initiatives, Kegler Brown Hill + Ritter
2014 Your Honor Awards: Honorable Mention - Websites – Total Website

How has receiving Your Honor Award recognition benefited your department within your firm?Along with the recognition that is earned at the national level comes the opportunity to do some marketing for the marketing function at the firm. More than anything, taking a project or projects out of the local marketing and submitting them for competition nationally has been looked at as a solid demonstration of confidence in the work that’s been done, but earning some recognition was exceptionally validating for the department in the eyes of the executive committee. The team’s recognition at the national level was also celebrated by our firm at the annual retreat, for which our team was asked to give an overview of the project and highlight the most important elements that made it so successful in the eyes of the national judging committee. It was a great opportunity not necessarily to pat ourselves on the back, but to use the validation and credibility as a launching point for getting buy-in on future projects.

Any advice for other members looking to enter YHA?
Stop thinking about it and do it. Any recognition is secondary to the insights you’ll gain and the learning moments you’ll discover by re-examining your process and communicating about what was effective and ineffective. While there will always be a mix of both, use the submission process as an opportunity to dig into the project ROI and you can always use those insights in director meetings, ExCom meetings and other forums to share marketing lessons. At the end of the process, you’ll have a more informed submission, and the department will be able to provide more strategic counsel to the lawyers. Use the successes you find to build momentum for other worthwhile projects.

Now that you have some tips, start preparing your YHA entry. For more information on categories, to download the submission brochure or to see FAQs, visit the LMA website.You can submit your project, along with all supporting documentation, until noon central on Nov. 11

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